Review of Grey Rock Golf Club
Grey Rock Golf Club, previously known as Circle C is an outstanding course about 15 minutes from downtown Austin. It is well deserving of the following accolades: "Best Places to Play" (2004) by Golf Digest and "Top Public Golf Courses in Texas" (2001) from Texas Golfer Magazine. The course was designed by Jay Morrish and is defined by fairways lined by majestic oak trees, white sand bunkers, and several dog legs. Grey Rock is fair but demanding from any of the four tee boxes, the fairways are ample, and the approach shots can be be challenging but if you play smart and do whatever it takes to stay out of the trees and bunkers you'll have an enjoyable round. The front seemed a little easier and the back is fun and has more character and interesting holes.
Most of the holes are fairly straightforward and traditional and you can see the pin and what you're up against from the tee box. On several of the dog legs there are some very tempting risk reward opportunities where you'll be tempted to try and fly the trees to shorten the hole. There are also some short par 4 holes like #9 at 317 yards and #15 at 323 yards where you long hitters may try to go for the green – but miss and par may be impossible. In most cases, it's smarter to lay up, avoid the bunkers, and have an easier approach for a par or birdie. The four par 3's are outstanding but challenging thanks to hazards (trees, water, or bunkers), length (187 to 206 yards from the tips), and challenging green complexes.
Some of our favorite holes included:
- #5 is a fun 380 yard par 4 with three huge fairway bunkers in your landing zone and a dog leg left to a green with two more nasty bunkers
- #9 is only 317 yards and will temp you to go for the green but if you do, you need to avoid the 5 bunkers and putt well because the green has a lot of movement
- the par 3 168 yard #13 is fantastic and demands a precise shot – short is trouble with water and left or long will be in a deep bunker
- #14 is a demanding dog leg right 591 yard par 5 with bunkers on the left and middle of the tee shot landing zone and an elevated green with two more big bunkers
The greens at Grey Rock Golf Club are a variety of shapes and sizes and can be challenging thanks to slope, spines, and false fronts and most are well guarded by pot to huge bunkers, putting a premium on your approach shots. When we played the greens were still in transition from winter to summer conditions and were a little slow and bumpy. They run very true and the breaks seemed easy to read. During the summer they should be in great shape.
The fairways are ample but if you spray it, you'll be lost in the trees and natural area. They were in very good condition for April. Most are flat with some gentle contour and mounding. You'll find a few homes set way back off the fairway on a couple holes. During your round you'll enjoy the peace and quiet and likely see plenty of wildlife.
The bunkers at Grey Rock Golf Course have all been redone and they are still settling in, but they are fantastic – thick soft white sand that's a joy to hit out of. I know because it seems I found several of them and took a lot of sand home in the shoes and hair! The bunkers range is shape and size – small steep and deep pot bunkers to some huge monsters that may keep you in them for a couple shots. They are strategically placed and you need to plan your shots to avoid them if you want to walk in the clubhouse and not have to pay for the drinks.
Bottom line – play smart, avoid the bunkers, and carefully study the risk reward opportunities before you you decide to go for it and you'll find the course challenging but fair and fun to play.
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Service was excellent, the proshop was well stocked, and the practice facilities are good. The pace of play is great and typically around 4 hours. The clubhouse is stunning and the grill and bar area are very good. The course is currently (April 2014) in the process of being sold to the City of Austin - we hope that they will keep it as a high end course.